Rail plans move ahead

Central Leader - - News - By Heather McCracken

A rail link be­tween Avon­dale, One­hunga, and Auck­land air­port has been en­dorsed by city au­thor­i­ties.

But catch­ing a train to the air­port will still be decades away.

The heavy rail route has the thumbs up from Auck­land city and re­gional coun­cils.

It’s also the op­tion pre­ferred by trans­port in­fra­struc­ture agency the Auck­land Re­gional Trans­port Au­thor­ity.

Iden­ti­fy­ing the route is part of ARTA’s long-term plan­ning for a south­west tran­sit corridor.

The route would fol­low State High­way 20 from Avon­dale to One­hunga, cross the har­bour, then fol­low State High­way 20A to the air­port.

A rail link be­tween Puhinui sta­tion and the air­port, and the re­open­ing branch line be­tween One­hunga and Pen­rose would com­plete the loop.

Auck­land City Coun­cil trans­port com­mit­tee chair­man Ken Bag­u­ley says the cir­cu­lar route would best serve the city, and could be de­vel­oped in stages.

But Mr Bag­u­ley says any de­vel­op­ment is likely to be a long way off.

“And it’s cer­tainly not a cheap op­tion,” he says.

A rough es­ti­mate in 2007 fig­ures puts construction costs for the 29km net­work at $2178 mil­lion, and land costs at $89m.

The first stage of the scop­ing project es­tab­lished that pro­vi­sion should be made for rail to cross the Manukau Har­bour un­der­neath the new bridge be­ing con­structed.

The mo­tor­way is also to be shifted east be­tween the bridge and Walmsley Rd to al­low for a fu­ture rail corridor.

But no pro­vi­sion has been made for a rail corridor through One­hunga, where State High­way 20 is soon to be widened.

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